Easy Ways to Detect Air Leaks in Your North America Home

A leaky house is significantly less energy efficient than a tightly sealed one. Being familiar with how to find air leaks in your house, sealing those leaks and scheduling a home energy assessment when needed can help you establish a comfy living environment and decrease your energy bills.

Detecting Air Leaks from Inside Your Home

Initiate your air leak inspection on the interior. Here are four successful ways for finding air leaks in your house:

  • Conduct|Perform|Carry out} a detailed visual inspection, looking for gaps and cracks on or near windows, doors, electrical outlets and baseboards. Pay extra attention to the corners of rooms, because gaps can commonly be found there.
  • Put your hand close to potentially leaky places on a cold or windy day. If you sense a draft, you’ve discovered an air leak.
  • Complete a smoke test by lighting an incense stick or smoke pen. Then, slowly move it all around the edges of windows, doors and other potential problem areas. If an air leak is present, the smoke will blow around or get sucked into the gap, showing the site of the leak. The smoke test is most effective when conducted on a windy day.
  • Utilize an infrared thermometer or thermal camera to detect temperature differences around your home. These tools help you identify rooms with major temperature variations, which often signify air leaks.

Detecting Air Leaks from Outside Your Home

Inspecting the exterior structure can also uncover potential leaks. Here are two strategies for finding air leaks from the outside:

  • Conduct a visual assessment, paying close attention to corners and places where different materials meet. Hunt for gaps or cracks that could lead to air leaks, as well as worn caulk or weatherstripping and improperly sealed vents and exhaust fans.
  • Conduct the garden hose test on a colder day. This is where someone sprays water from a garden hose onto the building’s exterior while another person stands inside close to a suspected air leak. If there’s a leak, the person inside really should feel cold air or moisture coming through the gap.

Sealing Air Leaks

After identifying serious air leaks, it’s time to deal with the issue. Here are the best ways to sealing air leaks in your home:

  • Use caulk to seal small gaps and cracks around windows, doors and other areas where air is escaping. Select a high-quality, long-lasting caulk designed for indoor or outdoor use and the specific materials in question to ensure a durable seal. Follow the manufacturer’s guidelines for correct application and curing time.
  • Apply weatherstripping to doors and windows to help them close tightly. A variety of  of weatherstripping are available, such as adhesive-backed foam tape, V-strip and door sweeps. Choose the appropriate style for your needs and follow the installation recommendations.
  • Use expanding foam to fill and seal bigger gaps and holes. Expanding foam is available in a can with a spray applicator for quick application in hard-to-reach places. Wear protective gloves and follow the manufacturer’s guidelines to make sure you stay safe.
  • Apply insulation to newly sealed walls and attic floors to further cut down on heat transfer. Even when you already have some insulation, consider upgrading to a higher R-value or adding more insulation where you need more.
  • Add door sweeps along the bottom of exterior doors to restrict drafts. Door sweeps are made in various materials and models to suit your desires and aesthetic preferences.

Considering a Comprehensive Home Energy Assessment

A home energy assessment is useful for identifying hidden air leaks and locating areas of improvement. A professional energy auditor carries out this inspection, which involves the following:

  • A blower door test entails installing a temporary door with a strong fan over an exterior door opening. The fan pulls air from the house, lowering the inside air pressure and drawing in outside air through unsealed openings. This test measures your home’s air tightness and makes thermal camera images easier to read.
  • Infrared imaging helps the energy auditor detect temperature differences in the walls, floors and ceilings, revealing unseen air leaks and insulation gaps.
  • A combustion safety test makes certain your home heating system, water heater and other combustion appliances are operating safely and efficiently, reducing the risk of potentially deadly carbon monoxide buildup.
  • A homeowner interview is when the energy auditor analyzes your energy usage habits, home maintenance history and comfort issues to spot additional energy-saving possibilities.

Schedule a Comprehensive Home Energy Assessment

While doing your own air leak tests is an excellent starting point, partnering with a professional is far more thorough. Service Experts Heating & Air Conditioning can help you improve your home’s air tightness with an extensive home energy assessment and customized solutions to boost performance and comfort.

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